As with most conventions in the genre community, Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con was replete with activity. And as with our other reports, this is by no means a complete collection of notable news, and there’s so much of it that we’ve had to break it down by category. So let’s dive into the comics news first.
JOSS WHEDON: ICON WITH A TWIST
Writer and director Joss Whedon has joined ranks with Ray Bradbury, Stan Lee, June Foray, and Neil Gaiman, becoming the ninth recipient of the Comic-Con International Icon Award.
The award goes to recognize a person’s efforts in bringing more awareness of comics and popular arts to a wider audience. Comic-Con’s director of marketing David Glazner joined Whedon on stage following the Dark Horse Comics panel, in which Whedon announced his next project (more on that in a moment).
Glazner says Comic-Con proves that “you don’t have to love just one thing, and it’s clear Joss loves it all.”
Whedon’s response: “Thanks, guys, — that almost makes up for having to listen to someone talk about how great I am. I like how artfully you’ve scratched off J.J. Abrams.” But even Whedon wasn’t completely immune to the emotion of the moment. “I didn’t expect to be moved by this, but I am. I’m grateful. Thank you.”
Whedon’s new project, Twist, is the result of his work with Dark Horse Comics on the sequel stories in the Buffy universe. As Whedon describes it, “It’s a Victorian thriller about a meek chambermaid who is fed to a dark horror — but instead of dying, she returns, with knowledge, power, and rage she can neither deny nor control.” The first story arc will be a six-issue miniseries. He says the premise of the series deals with “…the most important moral question facing us, which is ‘Why isn’t there a Victorian female Batman?’”
Whedon is no stranger to writing comics. In addition to supervising the work on the Buffy comics, he’s also been involved in the Firefly continuation and wrote Astonishing X-Men for Marvel Comics in 2004.
The announcement came in the midst of the panel hosted by Dark Horse in Hall H, in which Wedon — sans moderator — held forth on a number of topics ranging from his favorite character — “How could I not say Buffy? She is the distilled essence of everything that I’m not, and what I want to be and become.” — to the meaning of life.
“You think I’m not going to, but I’m going to answer that. The world is a random and meaningless terrifying place and then we all — spoiler alert — die. Most critters are designed not to know that. We are designed, uniquely, to transcend that, and to understand that — I can quote myself — a thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.”
Whedon added “the main function of the human brain, the primary instinct, is storytelling. Memory is storytelling. If we all remembered everything, we would be Rain Man, and would not be socially active at all. We learn to forget and to distort, but we [also] learn to tell a story about ourselves.”
Whedon also acknowledged that while his work has done much to further gender equality, he’s been a little light on racial equality. “I’ve been knocked a couple times on my handling of race. My answer is: Good call. My focus has always been gender, that’s half the people on the planet — so there’s a lot of work there. But I do think yes, the landscape of this country and this world, and the stories that we need to tell, [are] more diverse than what I have focused on. So again, my answer is: soon.”
And Doctor Horrible 2 is still not coming anytime soon…
DARK HORSE COMICS
In addition to Twist, Dark Horse has also announced a follow-up to Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel The Legend of Korra. The new book was announced using an unofficial gif animation from Avatar co-creator Bryan Konietzo, in which Korra and Asami — having been confirmed as a couple by the show creators — are emerging from the Spirit World. Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creator of Korra, will write the new book.
Also, Paul Tobin will have two new titles at Dark Horse: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and Mystery Girl.
PvZ:GW is the follow-up title in the comics line attached to the popular video game franchise, and it will lead into Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 from PopCap in early 2016. Artist Jacob Chabot will handle illustration duties, which have usually been done by Ron Chan.
MG is an original story about a detective with a hidden history. She knows the answer to any mystery, except the one about her past. She also has no idea how she got her power. Art will be delivered by Alberto Alburquerque.
Dark Horse also will be releasing a follow-up to Lady Killer. Details in our Roundup of Day 2.
The Viz Media panel included a discussing about the re-print of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of the most sought-after Zelda stories by legendary creator Shotaro Ishinomori. This story had previously been published in Nintendo Power magazine in serialized form back in 1992, and the panel detailed the efforts Viz took to get the rights to the story. Working for years to obtain the rights, the company got permission to reprint A Link to the Past four years ago. They’ve remastered all of the artwork and reworked the cover to feature the iconic image of Link’s sword in the stone.
Ishinomori holds the record for the most comics published by one author, and this marks the first time in over twenty years the story has been available. It’s now on its third printing.
Viz also had at their booth the early release copies of Ultraman Vol. 1, which was available at SDCC before going on the open market. Fans could purchase the manga, which came with an SDCC-exclusive action figure from Bandai. Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi attended the convention and signed copies at the Viz booth.
The new book will be available under the VIZ Signature imprint August 18th. The manga is based on the popular 1960s Japanese television show.
Oni Press hosted a panel to discuss the return of Invader Zim in comic book form ten years after the television show went off the air. Creator Jhonen Vasquez, Eric Trueheart (writer on the original series & comic), Aaron Alexovich (artist for the original show & comic), Megan Lawton (inker on the comic), and Rikki Simons (voice of Gir!) gathered to share details on the new project.
The story picks up two years after the end of the show, and the creative team is picking up as if the show never ended. The comic will focus on new stories, as the team isn’t interested in reviving anything from the past — like unproduced scripts circulating on the Internet.
WILLIAM SHATNER’S MAN O’ WAR
Besides reading from The Autobiography of James T. Kirk and discussing (or not discussing) whether he’s in Star Trek 13, William Shatner also previewed his new “Cinematic Graphic Novel” Man O’ War, produced by LNL Partners and Panelfly.
The adaptation was written by Mariano Nicieza with art by Wilson Ramos Jr.
Neither motion comic nor animation, the CGN format is a hybrid of sorts, with music and sound effects but no recorded dialogue. “I think that the cinematic part of it is innovative with the sound effects and music and the motion that we’re able to bring to it,” Shatner told Comic Book Resources last month. “And hopefully, in the future, it will also be interactive so that you can press the screen and get a portion of the book that refers to the portion of the comic that you’re looking at, so you get a further explanation of what’s going on from the eBook.”
The first installment of the 16-chapter “Man O’ War” Cinematic Graphic Novel is available now on iTunes, Comixology and Vimeo.
This October, IDW Publishing will release a new eight-part bi-weekly story in the pages of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. “Cobra World Order” will be written by the original Joe comic book co-creator Larry Hama, along with cover artists Paul Pope, Francesco Francavilla, Phil Jimenez and Stephen Mooney.
From the press release:
“What we have seen of Cobra’s plans in G.I. JOE: ARAH to date is just the tip of the iceberg,” said series writer, Hama. “Other players in the Cobra periphery — like Destro and Zartan — are making their moves so as to be in on whatever benefits accrue from Cobra Commander’s master plot. Meanwhile, Hawk leads an international team around the globe to uncover the details of this sinister conspiracy.”
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES + BATMAN
IDW Publishing is also teaming up with DC Comics for a crossover event scheduled for November, when Batman will meet the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a six-issue story. Writer James Tynion IV and artist Freddie Williams II will be working on the story, with covers by Williams and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman.
The official description has the Turtles’ enemy Krang working up a plan to exile the Heroes in a Half Shell to another dimension, and they find themselves whisked away to Gotham City.
This marks the third co-operative venture between IDW and DC, the other two being Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes and Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War.
On the television side, Nickelodeon has renewed the animated series for a fifth season, with some notable guest stars in store:
- David Tennant (Doctor Who) guest stars as The Fugitoid who was once an alien scientist named Dr. Honeycutt, but after his body was destroyed, his brain was saved and placed into the body of a robot.
- Peter Stormare (Fargo) guest stars as Lord Dregg, an arrogant, insectoid crime lord. When the Turtles incur his wrath, he becomes one of their most dangerous enemies.
- Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation) stars as Captain Mozar, the supreme Commander of the Triceraton Fleet. He is a cunning and brutal military commander who answers only to the Triceraton Emperor.
- Additional guest stars debuting later this year include: Lance Henriksen (Aliens) as Zog, a scout for the alien Triceraton army; Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as Armaggon, a vicious, bounty-hunter robo-shark with a taste for turtle; and Zelda Williams (The Legend of Korra) as fan-favorite Mona Lisa, a highly skilled Salamandrian warrior.
Grant Morrison will be returning to the Multiversity universe with Multiversity Too, beginning in 2016 with Multiversity Too: The Flash. No other details yet, but these will be original graphic novels. DC also announced Morrison will revive Batman: Black & White.
At the panel, Morrison also talked about his plans for Wonder Woman: Earth One, saying, “I don’t really like the sword and shield thing, I don’t like this idea that the only way to show strong women is to make them look like Conan the barbarian.” He says the book will explore Diana’s origin, with the Amazons putting her on trial for going to Man’s World.
Also on Saturday, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, producer/director Reginald Hudlin and Milestone Media co-founder/artist Denys Cowan announced the creation of “Earth-M,” which will be the new home of the 1993 Milestone Media characters in the “Dakota” universe. This includes Static Shock, Icon, Rocket, Hardware, and Xombie along with brand new heroes and villains in brand new stories.
“We couldn’t be more proud and excited about the opportunity to bring the ‘Dakota’ universe back to DC,” said Lee. “This is a huge step forward for us in bringing readers a more diversified lineup as part of the New DC Universe, and we’re anxiously looking forward to telling new stories that are socially and culturally impactful and representative of the world in which we live.”
DC will publish up to two “Earth-M” hardcover graphic novels each year, along with miniseries and one-shot comics from a team of creative talent that will include Hudlin, Cowan, Lee, and Geoff Johns. Original Milestone content will be revived and re-published as collected editions.
First up: Vader Down, the new cross-over between Star Wars and Darth Vader, in which Darth Vader gets stranded behind enemy lines. Kieron Gillen is writing with Jason Aaron, with art by Mike Deodato and Salvador Larroca.
Executive editor Tom Brevoort talked about S.H.I.E.L.D. issue #8, which will introduce Mockingbird to the book and team her with Agent May. Issue #9 marks the 50th anniversary of S.H.I.E.L.D. and will feature “The Man Called DEATH,” a story with art by Jack Kirby. This story was brainstormed by Kirby and Stan Lee when they brought Nick Fury to the 1960s.
The two pages drawn by Kirby were inked by Jim Steranko, and will be printed for the first time in SHIELD #9.
Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s Miracleman will be reprinted in September, with new material coming afterwards.
And who is the new Hulk? They’re not telling yet…